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Nice Car
by KJ Hannah Greenberg



“Nice car.”


“Hadrian waxes it Wednesdays.”


“Nice house.”


“Marlene’s the best.”


“Nice suit.”


“Marlene arranges, monthly, for the tailor to come by. Your hat is sporting.”


“Thank-you. My four year-old missed it when she puked. Should’ve seen my jacket!”


“No nannies?”


“Nannybot. Bought it after Smith, Jones and Moon signed that three book contract. Actually, kidding. No nannies. No nannybot.”




“And a handsome advance.”


“Good agent?”


“Not yet. Besides, I’m making nowhere near what you’re pulling in. Your Harvey the Hedgehog series is still, twenty months later, on the London Times’ list.”


“I wouldn’t trust robots with progeny.”


“I wouldn’t trust hired help not to loot.”


“Fair enough. One million point five.”


“Per book?”


“Per book, advances, not royalties. More for movie rights. Quince Brothers begins filming this July.”




“Another series. I fancy wombats or wildebeests.”


“Smith, Jones and Moon?”


“Naturally. You’re lucky I made your introductions.”




“So, more historical fiction?”


“Not sure. Kinda’ busy.”


“Do tell.”


“I became Bromley’s Best Prose and Poetry’s Associate Editor last week.”




“And let Princess take me to school for ‘Dads at Work Day.’”


“Surely, Smith, Jones and Moon wants you back.”


“Depends on sales. I did an open mike at Croydon. Whitgift, more specifically.”


“Shopping Centre? Near Wellesley Road?”


“The one. Aquazoo hosted. I read two narratives and a vignette.”


“Indeed. I thought Renaissance Books wanted to print that collection.”


“Joint venture. I told them to stuff their bloomers with goose fat.”


“Surely Weenie Volumes will still issue your assemblage of essays? You received an advance.”


“No and yes. Cashed the check, but they didn’t care. Wombats? Smith, Jones and Moon asked for more mice and hedgehogs.”


“I detest rodents.”


“Wombats are marsupials. Marsupials are rodents. What’s more, Harvey is a hedgehog. He is a rodent.”


“Technically, but wombats are not. Harvey’s anyway best dead. Shall I ask Taavetti to bring tea?”


“You kill him in the next book?”


“Leo’s amazing.”


“Your agent?”


“My brother-in-law. The barrister.”


“Smith, Jones and Moon is an American house.”


“I use their London subsidy.”


“I saw you on WRAT cable TV… a book signing, I think.”


“Phyllis sent a cute Instagram.”


“She’s not home? Was that you on the tele? Looked like you. Where is Phyllis?”




“Impossible. She’s afraid of flying. What about Harvey? Why did you kill him?”


“I hired a yacht for her. How’s Emmy?”


“Got her cast off. Not ready to drive, yet. Tahiti by ship?”


“Early birthday gift. Destination’s become posh again. Quaint, too. Gave her some jewelry, as well. Marlene sourced the earrings for me. Phyllis made it easy. She emailed Marlene a URL to the catalog of that fancy New York store before she hipped out. Phyllis had already filled her electronic carriage, too. Marlene just had to complete the details.”


“Aquamarine’s their signature color. All of their boxes are that odd shade. Why did you kill Harvey?”


“I think you’re right about the blue. Odd shade.”


“Price of Freedom.”


“Yes, she doesn’t know about Beth.”


“I didn’t either. I’m talking about my next book, the one for which I wanted your agent’s help. The one that’s not historical fiction. Did a hunter shoot him? Did he get flattened by a bus?”


“Leo told me not to mix him up with other writers.”


“He’s a barrister. No actual agent? So how did the hedgie die? Does Leo know about Beth?


“Here’s Taavetti. Do you like sugar? Look at this jam for our scones. Rhubarb and ginger!”


“Clotted cream?”


“Here. Tell me more about your project. You’re not a memoirist. Poetry doesn’t sell. What are you writing? I prefer double Devon, but Marlene’s besoughted with Hadrian and as such ‘forgets’ things.”


“Like Beth?”


“A sorry topic. Maybe Leo could urge one of the junior agents in his circle to look at your manuscript. When I was younger, I insisted on red current and raspberry. Presently, I make do.”


“Wow! Norfolk Breakfast! Didn’t known it came in loose form. Why does Leo know agents?”


“Why does Leo represent my books? The loose tea is Taylors of Harrogate.”


“has she been your mistress for a long time? Are you going to tell Phyllis? Now, about the hedgehog….”


“Did you ask Hadrian to wax your car? I told him to wax it after you parked.”


“Took the bus. I need to pick up Princess soon.”


“Would a junior agent suit you?”


“Perhaps. I must finish writing, first.”


“I approve. Let me know.”


“I will, that. I’m dabbling in biography. There’s good money available for stories about the rich and famous.”




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